White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci vowed Wednesday to take a hard line against leaks from the West Wing, telling Fox News' "Hannity," "we're going to let people go if we have to."
"One of the big problems that I’m discovering," said Scaramucci, who was named communications director Friday, which led to the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer, "is that senior people are really the guys doing the leaking and they ask junior people to leak for them.
"I’m very proud to be reporting directly to the president so I can hermetically seal off the [communications] team from this sort of nonsense," Scaramucci added.
Scaramucci spoke to Fox News' Sean Hannity one day after the resignation of senior assistant press secretary Michael Short, who claimed he offered to step down of his own accord. Short's departure came as sources told Fox News that Republican National Committee officials who followed Spicer and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to the White House feared for their jobs.
"We let somebody go yesterday, but I’ve told people that if there’s a civil war, and people are fighting internally, we have to dial that down," Scaramucci said. "I don’t think you can let people go ... just for the sake of letting them go. I think we have to give them ... some level of amnesty to see if they’ll stop and work together.
"But I’ll move very quickly if they cannot do that, because I have the president’s authority to do so."
Earlier Wednesday evening, Scaramucci tweeted that he planned to contact the FBI and the Justice Department, claiming that his own financial disclosure information had been leaked. But the tweet was later deleted.
Scaramucci also claimed that some leaks from other executive agencies came from what he called "political holdovers from the Obama administration that want to put a hurt on the Trump administration." In response, he said he was planning to meet with communications people from those agencies in an effort to "curtail leaks on their side."
After Scaramucci appeared on "Hannity," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores issued the following statement:
"We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months. We agree with Anthony that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country. Like the Attorney General has said, 'whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,' and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead."